In honor of Liz Lemon: Blerg! This is Annika’s second day at home sick. If she were really, really, REALLY sick, like, in bed with a dangerously high fever and hardly able to move, then these two days would be anxiety-ridden but sweet, as we did super-sicky things like snuggling in bed and me reading her stories. Instead, she’s only moderately sick, but still has plenty of energy. Yesterday was OK because she got involved in a book, but today—even though I went early to the library and got her another book that she’s been asking for—she was NOT interested in reading whatsoever and wanted, instead, to bake egg custard and come up with an original muffin recipe, although she relented and we made apple-oatmeal muffins from an existing recipe instead. She played with the cats, she pummeled me with a half-full helium balloon left over from New Year’s Eve, she danced and sang, she banged out tuneless songs on the piano, and she seemed to be one giant whirlwind of stuffy, sneezy energy.
I, meanwhile, was quite irritated because all this interfered mightily with my regular schedule of sitting on the couch and moping. At about 4 p.m., when Annika decided to go out on the front porch in the freezing cold to “get some fresh air” and demanded that I come with her, my patience wore out. I did go outside with her for a little bit, but then I came back inside and plopped down on the sofa. Annika, however, saw this as the beginning of another game, and pretended to be a cat yowling to be let in. Danged if I was going to get up off the couch and play kitty-cat when I had some serious lazing to catch up on. So I let her yowl. And yowl. And yowl. And yowl. Finally I yelled up to Simon that I needed to go for a walk, and could he please come downstairs for half an hour while I got out of the house?
Unfortunately, just as he was coming downstairs, he got an important call from a client, and zoomed back upstairs, leaving me with Little Yowly. She eventually let herself in but then yelled at me for being a terrible mother and leaving my poor little girl outside in the cold. I’m pretty sure I laughed, which made her even more mad. (And made ME more mad, too. HOW THE HELL CAN A NINE-YEAR-OLD SO CONSISTENTLY GET MY GOAT?) Anyhow, there was a lot of yelling. Not on my part—I have to say, I kept my cool for once, even though I could feel atoms splitting inside my brain, in the nuclear fission of anger.
Eventually Simon came down and I huffily went for my walk. I was sad and mad and angry during the whole walk, and barely looked up beyond my feet to see the bleak midwinter landscape, which is actually quite pretty if you can appreciate it, which I could not. I walked for 40 minutes and came back to the house feeling even gloomier and more enraged at the unfairness of it all, knowing that absolutely nothing at all in my life is unfair, and that I love my daughter and my husband and they love me and maybe my mom died, but everyone’s mom dies eventually, so what? That’s why God made Season Three of Downton Abbey.
I peeled off my coat and apologized to Simon and told Annika that I could have let her in, I just didn’t want to because I was irritated at having to do things that she wanted to do all day instead of things I wanted to do, and she sweetly nodded her head and said she understood. No, she didn’t really do that because she was playing a video game on my cell phone, but she DID look up and say, “Yes, Mommy,” and then later this evening, while I was giving her a bath, she looked me in the eye and very solemnly said, “I’m really sorry, Mommy,” and by that time we’d had a lovely dinner of tomato soup with mac & cheese and hot buttered toast, so I was feeling all warmly domestic and maternal and her apology just melted my already melty heart.
Still, I REALLY wish she was going to school tomorrow.